LOS ANGELES — “Outed” Duke University porn star Belle Knox published her first column for the Huffington Post today, entitled “I Don’t Want Your Pity: Sex Work and Labor Politics.”
Knox’s column discusses the relevance of the economic concept of “desperate exchange,” i.e., bartering labor out of financial necessity, to her decision to pursue porn to avoid debt incurred from student loans.
The 18-year-old explains that although her work in porn is financially motivated, and that she wouldn’t do porn if she didn’t need the money, she maintains that she had other options, and therefore wasn’t driven to a desperate exchange in the classical sense.
“Porn wasn't my only option, but it was the most prudent, the most shrewd — trading the smallest amount of my time for the maximum profit, on my schedule,” Knox wrote. “I could quite easily have taken out loans to cover my tuition bill, but I chose not to. Why be $50,000 or more in debt when it simply wasn't necessary? I was not making what economists call a desperate exchange.”
She then parallels other professions, specifically a fast food worker and a doctor, with that of a sex worker to show that the motivations of workers in each field are similar, namely financial gain, but happen to be free of the social stigma muddled with sex work. In an assumingly ironic twist, she refers to every job as a desperate exchange.
“So please, before you pity a sex worker, or talk to me about my ‘desperation,’ consider the privilege that you are have when you look down on me, and realize that you, too, engage in a ‘desperate exchange’ every day you drive to work — if you're blessed enough to have a job,” Knox bitingly concludes.
To read the column in full, click here.